by Laura Bednar
A farm older than Bath Township stands along Yellow Creek Road, spanning seven generations, all in the same family.
Nancy Fay nee Fulton, owner of The Bake Shop in Ghent, lives on the farm at 3243 Yellow Creek Rd., between Heritage Lane and Top of the Hill Road. The property initially included 640 acres and was part of a Connecticut Land Grant, wherein residents of the property must work for 10 years before getting title.
According to family legend, Jared Barker claimed two sections of the land for his children. The land was originally part of Medina County before Bath Township was established in 1818.
The land was once a dairy farm with cows, pigs and chickens. Michelle Anderson nee Fulton, Fay’s niece who grew up on the farm, said there used to be two barns and two silos. Nowadays, there is one barn and silo, and chickens are the only livestock.
Fay explained that over time, the farm was parceled off and sold and is now 11 1/2 acres. Her siblings Rich, Betty, Pat and MaryAnne grew up on the farm, and some of them lived there for a period of time with their children.
Fay said her maternal great-great grandparents, William Barker and Ann, lived in the log cabin that used to sit on the property (circa 1875) and believes they built the farmhouse that stood next to it. Ann died in 1876 and William and his son Alanson, who married a woman named Alice, continued work on the home.
“When they were building the house, there was not a fireplace in it because my great grandma, [Alice Barker] did not want to cook or clean a fireplace again,” said Fay, adding that the home had central coal heating and still has the materials from that heating in the walls.
Fay’s maternal grandfather, Alba Barker, died in 1918 of the flu epidemic, and her grandmother was left with three daughters, one of them Fay’s mother. The girls came to stay at the farmhouse and Fay’s mother, Lois Barker, eventually inherited the home, and her husband Hubert farmed the property until the mid 1960s. Fay recalled riding with her father on a tractor, chasing a bull to the barn.
William’s other son Jared, who served as Summit County Sheriff, originally built a home on Yellow Creek Road for his family that was the mirror image of the house across the street. Fay’s cousins much later took up residence across the street.
“We didn’t have neighbors, we were all related,” said Cecilia Newell Carmany, Fay’s niece.
Anderson recalled having cookouts, sledding down the hill in the winter, playing in the barn and ice-skating on the pond with the rest of the children.
“It was a great growing up experience,” she said.
Fay said the pond was man made, and in the summer the family brought in sand and lowered the water level of the lake to create a beach.
“Because we had cows, we never went on vacation,” said Fay.
Growing up in a more rural area, Fay, Anderson and Carmany recalled taking the bus to downtown Akron for Christmas shopping because Summit Mall and Montrose commercial area didn’t yet exist. Fay said her brother, along with high school friends, would bale hay at the farm. The girls’ job was to turn over the bales to dry. The kids’ treat for working with the hay was going to the former Tastee Freeze for a small hot fudge sundae.
Fay, Anderson and Carmany said growing up on the farm meant spending all your time outside, enjoying swimming, kickball and spending time with one another.
“We always did everything together,” said Carmany.
Though the farm has existed for two centuries, the only notable disaster Fay and her family could recall was a small tornado ripping through the property in the 1970s, blowing down a tree that stood away from the house.
The farmhouse has seen renovations from its origins as a basic home with no indoor plumbing. Fay said the porch became the kitchen, the original kitchen is now a study and the parlor became the dining room. Fay’s mother added a carport with brick floors that became the family room.
“We tried to keep it farm style,” said Fay.
The Bath Historical Society designated the home as a century home, and the barn is still the original structure, which was built around 1875. Robert Kroeger, author of “Historic Barns of Ohio,” wrote that the interior of the barn has hand-hewn beams and sawn lumber. The barn is built into a bank and has a sandstone block foundation and stonemasonry.
“Our interest is to keep the barn like it is,” Fay said.
The empty base where the second silo used to sit is a planter for hostas, according to Fay. Other additions include a chicken coop and a 50-by-60-foot garden.
Most of the family members who lived on the farm still reside in the Bath area, and there have been 10 family weddings held there. Fay said there are enough family members and children in the next generation for the farm to stay in the family. ∞
Michelle Fulton Anderson (back, left), Pat Fulton Fitch (back, right), Cecilia Newell Carmany (front, left) and Nancy Fulton Fay all lived on the farm on Yellow Creek Road. Photo by Laura Bednar.
On our cover (photos): The black and white photo on the bottom left shows the original log cabin and farmhouse on the Yellow Creek Road property. The other black and white photo shows Rich Fulton and his dog Lucky, walking on the farm his parents owned. Today, the farm house still stands along with a barn and one silo. Read more about the farm’s origins and history on page 4. Photos by Laura Bednar.